“Water of life” – every country has one; whether it is the French Eau-du-Vie, the Scottish whisky or the Scandinavian Aquavit. Wait, what exactly is aquavit I hear you ask? Aquavit is produced from a high strength spirit, from a range of base materials including grain or potato, and macerated (that’s a technical word for added ingredients infused with the base spirit) with caraway, cardamom, star anise and fennel along with other ingredients. The spirit is then left for a period of time to develop, is watered down to strength, and then bottled and enjoyed!
Our hosts for tonight were: the producer from Facile & Co bringing a punsch made from Jamaican rum; our very own David Adamick from our Business Development team; and Jonas from Scandinavian Kitchen, beautifully pairing our samples with their culinary delights.
Facile Punsch is made from rum, Batavia arrack and blended with citrus peel and other secret ingredients. It has a golden amber appearance with an intensive nose of apricot, coffee and chocolate and works wonderfully well with Scandinavian Kitchen’s homemade orange and chocolate brownies. Delish! This great liquor can be a substitute for rum in a number of cocktails.
The evening then proceeded onto a flight of five Aquavits, which David proceeded to take us through in great detail, starting off with the most traditional style first. The Aalborg Taffel is a clear spirit that has strong nose of caraway that delivers on the palette a clean, crisp finish with warming flavours. This aquavit is best served ice cold and we enjoyed it with canapés of herring in a curry sauce, that was simply charming.
The next aquavit on show was the Aalborg Jubilaeums. The Jubilaeums was created to celebrate the 100th year anniversary of the distillery; this aquavit has seen some sherry cask aging that provides a light mahogany colour. With citrus hints and dill on the nose, Jubilaeums opens up into a rounded mouthfeel with hints of orange peel. With this we enjoyed small bread rounds with smoked salmon that matched the aquavit beautifully.
Next up was the OP Anderson aquavit. Like Jubilaeums, it also has seen some aging in sherry casks but is paler in colour. Again notes of dill and caraway, yet it is a little sweeter and has a crisper acidity that matches spicy food beautifully. With this was a cured beef and small taste of horseradish sauce.
The penultimate aquavit was the Linie, with its wonderful history. For those of you who don’t know – Linie was traditionally maturated in cask in ships that were sent to Australia and back and is thus named due to its crossing the equator, or “line”, twice during this process. To this day Linie is aged using this exact same method! The gentle rocking of the boat coupled with the changes in temperature creates a spicy, clean and crisp taste that develops into flavours of vanilla and aniseed.
Finally, our last aquavit was the Aalborg Nordguld. It is made using real amber (fossilised tree resin) and then matured in sherry casks, and has a silky smooth mouth feel that develops into flavours of vanilla, cumin and dill with a fiery finish. A true delight of the aquavit world, traditionally served at lunch to keep the cold at bay.
Aquavit opens your eyes to a taste of Scandinavian cuisine, so the next time you’re in the Soho area – pop in and try some!
By Amathus Soho
Hammer House, 113-117 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UN
Tel: 0207 287 5769